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MS Hyde 30

Metcalfe, Philip, 1735-1818. Philip Metcalfe papers concerning the Sir Joshua Reynolds estate, 1791-1906: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b, Hyde Case 9
Call No.: MS Hyde 30
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Metcalfe, Philip, 1735-1818
Title: Philip Metcalfe papers concerning the Sir Joshua Reynolds estate,
Date(s): 1791-1906,
Date(s): (bulk) 1791-1799.
Quantity: 1 collection (.5 linear feet (1 box and 1 volume)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Correspondence and accounts of Philip Metcalfe as an executor of the estate of painter Joshua Reynolds, including Reynolds's subscription book for a monument to Samuel Johnson.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

2003JM-58 (part), 2003JM-98. All material from 2003JM-58 unless otherwise noted. Bequest of Mary Hyde Eccles, Four Oaks Farm, Somerville, New Jersey; received: 2004.

Custodial History:

These papers apparently passed from Metcalfe to his niece Frederica Sophia Metcalfe Mure (1763-1834). They were the property of Geoffrey Reginald Gilchrist Mure until auctioned at Sotheby's on 1963 Dec. 17. Three letters, from Burke (lot 478), Fox (lot 480), and Malone (lot 481), were acquired by Donald and Mary Hyde at that time. Lot 484, comprising the remainder of the present collection, passed into other hands, and in 1968 July was sold by Pickering & Chatto to Mary Hyde.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Rick Stattler

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Philip Metcalfe Papers Concerning the Sir Joshua Reynolds Estate, 1791-1906 (MS Hyde 30 ). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

Philip Metcalfe was a distiller and a Minister of Parliament for London. He served as an executor of the estate of painter Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), along with Edmund Burke and Edmond Malone.


Arranged into the following series:

Scope and Contents

Series I, the correspondence file, consists mostly of letters received by Metcalfe as executor, and three letters in his hand. Two letters are addressed to co-executor Edmund Burke. Other notable correspondents include Charles James Fox, Edmond Malone, Reynolds's niece Mary Palmer, and Benjamin West. Most of the letters relate to funeral arrangements and estate finances. Only the letter from Fox discusses Reynolds's paintings.
Series II, the estate accounts, include detailed notes by Metcalfe on the arrangements for Reynolds's funeral, as well as financial accounts with several estate creditors and beneficiaries. A list of Reynolds paintings sold at auction is of particular interest. One of the estate account books includes a subscription list, probably begun by Reynolds in 1785, to raise a monument to Samuel Johnson.
Series III, the Metcalfe family papers, are of primarily genealogical interest. These papers have no direct connection to the Sir Joshua Reynolds estate, but help establish the collection's provenance.

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